Back in March 2018, a short but interesting email dropped into my Inbox…
I am the son off Roy Schuiten.Rob Schuiten 24th March 2018
I recently found a time trial bike off my fathers. I want to share some pictures and thoughts with you.
That was it, short and sweet, but I was intrigued and answered…
Rob continued with the story in his next email. He was put in touch with the seller who told him that he got the bike directly from Roy Schuiten, Rob’s father. The story, and more importantly the bike, seemed right. Although it had been repainted and had some additional braze on fittings, the frame had some tell tale signs that clearly identified it against images that Rob had of his father’s bike.
The frame is full of detail that 100% confirms the provenance of a Jan le Grand build. The bike that Rob had found was the bike that Roy Schuiten rode to victory in the 1975 GP Lugano and Grand Prix des Nations Time Trials.
The two images above are small and low resolution, but there is just enough detail in them to be able to zoom in and have a closer look. What you will see is the point on the front head lugs on the modified Carlton Capella lugs, the sloping fork crown and the lack of a nut on the rear brake bridge. It also uses modified and lightened gear levers and note the removal of metal from the band of the front derailleur.
I’m not sure which race the image below is from, but look at the bike on top of the car… the same distinctive red seat tube and bands, the same brake bridge and the same modified front derailleur.
This bike is the stuff of legends. When I wrote about the introduction of Reynolds 753, I mentioned the very same type of bike!
At this time, late 1974/early 1975, Reynolds 753 was still in development, a secret essentially! Dave’s bike in the Cycling article is described as his “…special extra-light titanium equipped Team Raleigh…”. Following this, Raleigh had further success with Roy Schuiten and other members of the team in Paris-Nice, Lugano and the Grand Prix des Nations, with Roy Schuiten winning the World 5000m pursuit in Belgium in the autumn of 1975. It is said that while the team were riding these bikes, they were actually badged as “Reynolds 531”.1975 – 1976 Reynolds 753 Introduction Blog Post
The ‘Dave’ I’m referring to above is Dave Lloyd, and his success in the RRA 50 Mile in late 1974. You can see that Roy’s bike is badged as Reynolds 531, it is one of the bikes that the team were riding before the 753 launch while badged as 531. That Cycling article also mentioned some “extra-light titanium” parts on Dave’s bike, and Rob also mentioned that when he found this bike it also had some Omas components still fitted.
Roy won the GP Lugano in very early March 1975 and the Grand Prix des Nations in late September 1975. These two victories and Dave’s new record in late 1974 were all before the public unveiling of Reynolds 753 at the Paris Cycle Show in October 1975.
So this bike is definitely the stuff of legends!
The first thing Rob did was take the bike to Lester Cycles to remove those extra braze on fittings and revert it back to how it was.
Look at that bottom bracket detail and how it compares to the shell on Roy’s Hour Record attempt track frame (gold frame). You don’t even need the gear cable tunnels removed to see the same features and the additional lightening from the milling and drilling
The frame uses the earliest type of Campagnolo 1010/B frame ends, introduced at some point in 1974, which Jan has drilled. The shaped cut applied to the ends of the stays are also a clear sign of Jan le Grand (the same style of cut is also seen on the Hour Record frame). Even the ends that insert into the stays have been drilled. The fork crown is quite flat underneath, similar to many other Presto fork crowns, and it has also been heavily drilled – these crowns can be heavy.
All the modifications, including the rear brake bridge, the way that the front brake is fastened inside the steerer, rear end drilling, fork crown drilling , the small amount of metal removed from the rear of the caliper arms and BB milling are all small weight savings but they all add up.
Rob carried on with his email…
The story is even better, I have the exact same org transfers to fit the bike. My bike painter is the brother off the one who used to paint the Raleigh bike at the time then. So he will paint my bike. The bike is as we speak at Lester Cycles to get the braze on parts off and add the org ones back on. Can’t wait!Rob Schuiten Email
It was while the frame was at Lester Cycles that we started to discuss the type of tubing. Rob initially told me the frame took a 26.8mm seat pin but based on the imperial type of lug, I asked to have the frame builder check. It was also a good time to measure tube diameters while the paint was off the frame.
This frame in my opinion was one of the mysterious early Imperial tubed 753 frames typically seen with Capella lugs. These are not standard frames; the standard Reynolds 753 tube released by Reynolds Tube Company in 1975 was a Metric diameter tube – I have only seen these Imperial frames made by Raleigh and they were in two distinct periods… late 1974/early 1975 and 1977. So to be sure of the tubing, I sent Rob some information.
The tubing can be difficult to work out.
The tubing will need careful measurements to determine exactly what it is because it is from the very early developmental period of Reynolds 753 where the SBDU and the Reynolds Tube Company were trying to determine the best specification and method of assembly.
The SBDU and Reynolds finally released a version and tube gauge of 753 to the public in late 1975 but there may be other earlier specifications that were produced specifically for special use within the TI-Raleigh team.
The 26.8mm seat pin would be correct for the slightly heavier gauge of the original Metric tubed 753. The seat pin size on the slightly thinner and lighter Metric 753 was 27.0mm
The slightly heavier gauge of 753 with the 26.8 pin was still much much lighter than the normal 531 double butted tubing and gave more stiffness than the thinner type of 753 so it was a great compromise; lightweight and stiff rather than lightweight and flexible!
However, those Carlton Capella lugs on your frame were made for Imperial size tubes and not Metric 753, so the seat pin size I was expecting you to say was 27.2mm. I have a couple of similar 753 frames with those Capella lugs. It is Imperial diameter tubing with a 27.2 pin. This tubing is like an early type of 753R tubing that Reynolds later released in 1982.
Sometimes when people aren’t sure what size seat pin a frame should take, they assume, and fit the wrong pin.
What you should do with all the paint stripped from the frame is accurately measure the tube diameters and frame weight.
Metric tubes are…
Top tube 26.0mm
Seat tube 28.0mm
Down tube 28.0mm
Imperial tubes are…
Top tube 25.4mm
Seat tube 28.6mm
Down tube 28.6mm
The SBDU measured the seat tube length of these frames from centre of BB to very top tip of seat lug.
With the frame stripped of paint and with no other parts fitted, weigh it in grams, frame only. I can compare that weight with the seat tube length and using the tube diameters I can often tell what type of tubing has been used.
I would ask Lester Cycles to check the internal diameter of the seat tube accurately. I normally use a vernier that I can pass down into the seat tube because the seat lug often gets mis-shaped.Info sent to Rob
Back came lots of images, and confirmation that I was correct about the seat pin size – it was an imperial seat tube with a 27.2mm seat pin.
You were right about the tubing.
This means its probably a early 753 proto? I am curious now and even exciting??
Pretty light for 60 ct/ 58,5 top tube.Rob Schuiten Email
The sizes that Rob came back with were interesting. The seat and down tube both measured 28.6mm which is Imperial diameter, but the top tube appeared to measure as 26.0mm which is Metric – so it looks as though a Metric tube has been carefully fitted into an Imperial 25.4 lug?
The frame size given by Rob of 60cm (centre of BB to top of top tube) matches what we know of Roy Schuiten’s frame size (58.5cm centre to centre). This is how the weight compares to my two Imperial/Capella lugged 753 badged frames…
|Frame||Size ‘cm’ (c-t)||Weight (grams)|
|Roy Schuiten TT Frame||60||1770|
1770 grams won’t set the world on fire in terms of lightweight Reynolds 753 frames, I have much lighter frames but all based on Metric dimensions. This frame is predominantly the larger diameter Imperial tubing, and compared to my two similar examples, the mix of tubing and the affect of the frame modifications can clearly be seen in the weight difference.
This was 1975, and the main tubing available from Reynolds at the time was 531 Double Butted which, depending on gauge, was much heavier. The goal that Reynolds and Raleigh achieved with all their efforts during the developmental process for Reynolds 753 was being able to decrease the tube wall thickness and producing an ultra lightweight steel tube while almost doubling the tube strength due to the heat treatment. Bikes like this played their part in this development.
What Jan le Grand had achieved with the build, and which was also something that the SBDU and Gerald O’Donovan were so good at, was considering every tube in the frame to suit not only the rider but also the race the frame was to be used in. Even though it is not the lightest available 753 tube, this frame is so much lighter than standard Reynolds 531 but has been built with tubes that maintain an amount of frame stiffness. Lightest isn’t necessarily the best!
Rob didn’t hang around and after a little while he sent through some images after the paint and transfers had been applied.
Rob explained what could be seen in the small bag hanging from the top of the seat tube…
I also had a message from Keith from Reynolds. They gave me an original 531 tube decal.Rob Schuiten Email
Keith Noronha is the Managing Director at Reynolds.
The bike has been rebuilt and looks stunning in the images that Rob has sent through to me.
What an amazing bike… what an amazing piece of history! This bike isn’t just part of TI-Raleigh team history, it is also a part of Reynolds and Raleigh SBDU history.
I’m so pleased Rob got in touch and shared this story with me. He has been looking for one of his dad’s bikes for a long time! I’m truly honoured to have played a very small part in this renovation by using my Reynolds and Raleigh knowledge to supply, check and confirm information for him.
** All images supplied and used with permission from Rob Schuiten **